When You Should Speak Up About Hating Your Wedding Party Outfit

It can be a huge honor to be included in a wedding party. You get to join our loved ones on their happy day and celebrate their love. But we've all also heard horror stories about wedding attire. There's a reputation that bridal party outfits are ugly, and there are even boards on Pinterest called "Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses." Since the couple typically chooses the wedding aesthetic, you want to be respectful of the design choices they've selected for their wedding day. However, there are times when you're legitimately offered a wedding party outfit that you hate. 

A story went viral on Reddit in January 2023 where the bride, who went by @bridezillaxoxo, explained that the color palette for her wedding was forest green and gold. For her maid of honor, she chose a black dress but the rest of the bridal party was to wear forest green. One of the bridesmaids didn't follow this stipulation and showed up on the day of the wedding with a black dress. The bride had security escort the woman out after she refused to change. The story became a huge thing online, and people on Reddit took the bride's side, of course. 

This is an extreme example. But what should you do when you truly don't like the outfit? Or, what if you feel downright uncomfortable? There are ways to navigate this while still keeping peace with the happy couple. 

Don't say anything

For the most part, the general consensus is that you shouldn't say anything if you don't like your wedding party outfit. If the issues you have with the outfit are that you simply don't love the style or the color, this is not the place to say anything. Comedian Catherine Cohen did a Q&A for W Magazine and this exact question came up. Cohen had a great response, "...I have to say no, it's not okay," Cohen began. "Just wear the dress. It's one day. Famously not your day. And it's not worth causing the bride, who you presumably care about, any stress. Put on the dress, wear a sexy shoe of your choosing, and have a cocktail or seven." That's some solid advice. 

Brides also had an answer for this conundrum. And again, the answer was no, don't say anything. Stylist Sarah Sommer points out that it's often best just to keep quiet. "Remember it's one night of your life and one of the most important days for your friend, the bride, and not worth losing a friendship over or adding more stress to either of your lives," Sommer explained. If you want to make the outfit more your style, Sommer suggested accessorizing and choosing hair and makeup that feels more like your aesthetic palette, pending the bride's approval of course. 

When it is okay to say something

There are a few exceptions to this rule when you should feel empowered to speak up about a problem with your wedding party outfit. If the outfit is size-restrictive or makes you feel uncomfortable, then it's acceptable to bring up the topic. If the outfit doesn't fit properly, this is actually a good thing to point out, since it likely won't look great at the event or in photos from the big day. You can also speak up if there are some financial struggles around purchasing the wedding outfit. If your discomfort has to do with the amount of skin showing or doesn't align with your personal sense of modesty, you can ask that your outfit be tweaked a little. For instance, if the outfit is strapless, but you're not comfortable with that, you can ask the bride if you could add straps.

Sommer explained these exceptions in Brides saying, "Never be afraid to ask the bride if there is any flexibility in the dress choices, especially if it's a matter of cost or not feeling comfortable with the cut/style," Sommer said. She encourages having some alternative solutions ready that align with the bride's vision to save her the trouble and stress of having to reinvent the wedding party's look. "Be prepared to share why and maybe even have a couple of backup options ready to show her in her bridesmaid dress color," she suggested.